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Working Groups

Click on the name of a working group to access a Directory page that lists the chairs and members of that working group and their contact information.

MWCCS Scientific Working Groups

  • Aging Working Group– Supports research in areas related to aging including physical/functional status (frailty, walking speed, balance, falls, fractures, endocrine status), mental health (depressive symptoms) and their interaction.
  • Cardiovascular (CVD) Working Group – Supports research related to cardiovascular outcomes such as stroke, heart and vascular disease. Serves as a source of information about the design of cardiovascular studies in the MWCCS and related data on major CVD risk factors (e.g., lipids, blood pressure), blood, urine, and cellular makers, ‘omics data (e.g., metabolome, microbiome, genome), vascular imaging, and clinical CVD events. Monitors CVD measurement protocols in the MWCCS and oversees the adjudication of CVD events.
  • Clinical Outcomes/Epidemiology Working Group – Reviews and determines cause of death and other important clinical events using redacted medical records that are collected at the sites. Provides ongoing support for related protocols in the cohort.
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases Working Group – Supports research on emerging infectious diseases as they affect people with HIV. This includes research on COVID-19 including the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 (SARS2) infection and its long term effects, relation of SARS2 to HIV persistence, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, as well as research on monkeypox (MPX) including seroprevalence among PWH and MPX vaccine access, and research on any other emerging infectious diseases of interest.
  • Genomics Working Group – Oversees the study of host genomic (e.g., genetic, epigenetic, gene expression) data of MWCCS study participants. Provides expert feedback on proposed and in-progress scientific genomic-related activities.
  • Liver Working Group – Studies liver disease including viral hepatitis, fatty liver, alcohol-related liver disease, and liver cancer in people living with and without HIV. The group studies how HIV and medications affect the liver. Researchers in the group also study how liver disease in people living with HIV can impact other organ systems including the heart, lungs, brain, hormones and kidneys. Working group members have expertise in viral hepatitis, liver disease, immunology and non-invasive measurements of liver injury.
  • Malignancy/HPV Working Group – Gathers information about cancers diagnosed in study participants, including cervical, oral and anal HPV infection and disease. Reviews new and on-going cancer projects in the MWCCS. Gives feedback on analyses of the MWCCS cancer data.
  • Metabolic Working Group– Supports research and provides expertise in areas relating to and affected by endocrine and metabolic disorders in adults living with and at risk for HIV infection. This includes dyslipidemia, disorders of insulin and glucose homeostasis, body composition (obesity, lipodystrophy, and visceral adiposity), bone metabolism and fractures, and sex hormone disturbances (menopause and male hypogonadism). Examples include, but are not limited to, hepatic steatosis, cardiovascular disease, aging, cognitive function, cancer, and the psychosocial determinants and effects of these comorbid conditions. .
  • Neuropsychology Working Group – We identify patterns and predictors of brain function and cognition. Understanding this helps us help people aging with HIV.
  • Pharmacology Working Group –This working group studies how HIV medicines are used, how they move through the body, and side effects they may cause. To study this, drug levels are measured in hair and blood. This group advises other working groups on how to use drug level data. The group helps researchers who want to use MWCCS samples to answer questions about HIV medicines in men and women.
  • Psychosocial Behavioral Working Group – This Working Group helps scientists who are working on research projects. Psychology, social factors, and behavior are key focus areas. We study ways that these factors influence HIV and other disease outcomes.
  • Pulmonary Working Group  – Studies the effects of HIV on the lung and breathing symptoms.
  • Sleep Working Group – The Sleep WG is made up of Sleep experts, Lung Disease experts and experts in how HIV affects aging men and women. The Working Group is exploring how HIV affects sleep quality, sleep apnea and circadian function (sleep timing and consistency). In addition, the groups studies how sleep affects other aspects of health including mental health, cardiovascular health, cognitive function and frailty. We are particularly looking at whether sleep disturbances cause detrimental inflammation that may lead to these health problems.
  • Viral and Immune Pathogenesis Working Group– Supports research in areas relating to the course of HIV infection and disease progression, the study of the virus itself, and the body’s immune response to HIV. This Working Group works with other relevant working groups to provide support and expertise for development of procedures to collect and test blood, tissue, and other specimens for research, and provides feedback to investigators seeking to use MWCCS for the above scientific areas, including the mentoring of junior investigators.

MWCCS Operational Working Groups

  • Investigator Developmental Award Advisory Committee (IDAC) – A standing committee that serves as an advisory group with the goal of fostering career development of early stage investigators (ESIs) working within the MWCCS research platform. The IDAC also supports ESI who are awarded developmental funds to achieve success in their projects and advance the unified scientific agenda. Committee members were chosen based on an established track record and commitment to mentoring. IDAC responsibilities are:
      • Mentoring and Training: The IDAC hosts quarterly events for ESI to present and receive feedback on their research and receive education on diverse career-related topics. Events include workshops focused on building critical skills important for launching a successful academic career (e.g., speaking skills, K award preparation, and networking). The IDAC is also a resource for ESI on an ad-hoc basis: reviewing specific aims and concept proposals, providing advice about funding sources, and connecting ESI with more senior investigators in their field.
      • Liaison between ESIs and the MWCCS Executive Committee (EC): IDAC co-chairs communicate regularly with the MWCCS EC regarding potential obstacles and opportunities for ESI to achieve success in their MWCCS research and careers at large. The IDAC also facilitates networking between MWCCS investigators and ESIs, the help ESI prepare their presentations for the MWCCS EC annual meeting.
      • If you are an ESI, contact the DACC (mwccs@jhu.edu) for information about the MWCCS Investigator Development Program and the IDAC.
  • CCS Specimen Allocation Committee (CSAC) – Assists in the allocation of high-value repository specimens. Reviews all requests for the release of samples from individuals who contribute significant or unique outcomes to overall MWCCS research aims and will determine whether or not the restricted samples should be released to the requesting investigator.
  • Core Laboratory Working Group– Assists study sites with all laboratory matters including sample collection, testing, and storage.  Makes sure that lab procedures are the same at all sites.  Provides expert advice to researchers and committees.
  • Data Management Working Group – Oversees all aspects of data collection and editing, ensuring that data collection standards are upheld across all sites. Typical discussion topics include data freezes and edits, summary file updates, central data transfers, and Gemini reports.
  • Project Directors Working Group– Discusses operational aspects of the MWCCS, such as form and protocol revisions, sub-study feasibility and implementation, registry match status, budgets, certification and quality assurance, and the activities of the scientific research groups and their impact on clinical operations.
  • Medical Record Abstraction Working Group – description forthcoming.

MWCCS Interest Groups

  • Biomarkers Interest Group – Provides intellectual and technical advice on biomarker-related efforts by MWCCS investigators. Evaluates proposals from outside investigators requesting access to MWCCS specimens and/or biomarker data for soundness and overlap with existing biomarker-related projects.
  • Gynecology and Pregnancy Interest Group – Coordinates studies assessing the effect of menopause. Evaluates the effect of effective contraception. Assesses the association of pregnancy outcomes with maternal health markers and studies the interaction between mental health and substance abuse with pregnancy outcomes, maternal health markers, immunologic and virologic response to HAART, and quality of life/post-partum mental health/functional status.
  • Microbiome Interest Group– Develops SOPs for collection and processing of stool, oral, and cervicovaginal samples for microbiome analysis and bioinformatics approaches for data analysis. Responsible for the evaluation of proposed microbiome studies in the MWCCS cohort. Works to develop new concepts and scientific/health aims that utilize stored microbiome samples.
  • Renal Interest Group– Spearheads projects, provides guidance to investigators, and fosters collaboration for research focused on kidney disease and its related complications in persons living with or at risk for HIV.

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